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FAQs - Closure Information

Why was a decision made to close the college?

Following years of attempts to restructure the college to achieve financial stability, the Board of Trustees ultimately decided that closing the college was the only responsible path forward. The OCAC Board made this decision now in order to prioritize the well-being of students, faculty, and staff. Shutting our doors while we can still offer the best possible outcomes for all affected is the right and the only responsible thing to do.   

Is this the result of financial mismanagement?

The path to closure was paved with years of restructuring, none of which could sufficiently eradicate the rising costs of running a small private arts college in the 21st century. Since the most recent financial recession, it has been difficult to sustain our high level of academic programming in the arts and, unfortunately, we are not alone in this struggle. 

When was the decision made? What led up to this decision?

The Board voted on the resolution to close shortly before making the announcement to students, faculty, staff, and the community at large.  Prior to making this difficult decision, the Board explored numerous options in hopes of continuing OCAC’s 112-year legacy, which included well-publicized attempts to partner with other institutions, among them Portland State University (PSU) and Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA). While the path to closure was paved with years of restructuring, none of these options could sufficiently eradicate the rising costs of running a private arts college in the 21st century. 

If things are so bad, why did you wait so long to close?

This college is dear to so many of us and we did not take the decision to close lightly. In order to best serve our students, faculty and staff, we wanted to ensure that we left no stone unturned in our efforts to keep our academic programs open for current students and students in years to come. Unfortunately, we were unable to find a solution that would serve our students while keeping our doors open. 

Why is the Board of Trustees or college not sharing detailed information about what led to this decision? Why does it feel like this is being done without consulting the community?

The OCAC administration is sharing all of the information it is at liberty to disclose. As a private institution, OCAC is not regulated by the same requirements of a public institution of higher education. In many cases, conversations between members of the Board, campus leadership, and third parties are governed by non-disclosure agreements. OCAC has been in discussions with a variety of community members and philanthropists over the years regarding ways to change our fortune and future.

What happens to students who are unable to find a similar arts program in the area to transfer to?

There are programs available regionally and nationally. Our Enrollment and Student Services team is holding individual meetings with each of our students to ease them into new institutions that fit their educational needs. We have been working around the clock to secure transfer partners with colleges across the region and the country to provide our students with the best possible options to continue their academic endeavors. With that in mind, each student’s situation is unique and will be handled in an individual manner by our trained staff.

For current students and alumni, what does it mean to have a degree from a college that has closed?

Your degree from OCAC is a valid degree with full regional accreditation. Following OCAC’s closure at the end of the Spring 2019 semester, we will transfer academic records to a custodial institution which will preserve them and make accessible after closure. We will provide more details as soon as they are available.

What’s next for OCAC?

OCAC will continue to operate the high level of academic programming on which we pride ourselves through the end of the Spring 2019 semester, at which point, we will cease all degree programs. At present, no final decision has been made about the immediate future of OCAC's Community Programs. As additional information becomes available about the sale of our property, the transfer of academic records, and other pertinent developments, we will make that information available to our valued community members, as well as the public.

What is the plan for the campus facilities? What will happen to the physical space that is OCAC?

We engaged a commercial real estate broker to assist with the sale of the OCAC campus and property. This sale will allow us to continue operations and provide for our students, faculty, and staff through the end of the semester. The Board of Trustees is actively reviewing all offers submitted. While we do not have details on the future of the property right now, we will keep the public up-to-date with any future developments as information becomes available. At present, no final decision has been made about the immediate future of OCAC's Community Programs.

Do you have any offers that prioritize the use of campus in a similar manner to its current craft use?

OCAC is fielding several offers for the campus, which run the gamut. We have engaged a real estate broker to collect, assess, and advise the Board of Trustees on the current offers. Our current priority is to ensure that we have sufficient funding to continue operations through the end of the academic year and provide a smooth transition for our students, faculty, and staff.

What about all of the organized groups trying to save OCAC that I see posting online?

The only parties authorized to speak on behalf of OCAC are members of the Board of Trustees and senior administrators. There are no external groups, individuals, or organizations sanctioned to speak on the institution's behalf. These parties may lack the most up-to-date, relevant information regarding our current situation, actions, and plans. While we appreciate the outpouring of support and the good intentions of members of the OCAC community, these parties do not represent OCAC. We encourage you to seek the most accurate, current information about the closure decision on our website.